Russia's S7 airline announces it is ceasing international flights

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A man takes pictures, with a plane (R) of S7 airlines seen in the background, at Domodedovo airport outside Moscow, Russia, November 6, 2015. REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev

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MOSCOW, March 4 (Reuters) - S7, Russia's biggest private airline and second largest overall, said on Friday it was ceasing all international flights as of Saturday after the Russian aviation sector was hit by sweeping sanctions on the West.

The European Union, Britain and United States and some other countries have closed their airspace starting next week, one of a package of punitive measures after Russia invaded Ukraine. Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special operation.”

S7, which operates about 100 planes, has flights to Turkey and UAE on Friday but will cease all its flights abroad from Saturday, it said.

The company did not give a reason for the move.

Smartavia, a medium-sized Russian airline, announced that it was ceasing all its international flights from Friday, including flights to Uzbekistan and charter flights to Turkey.

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Reporting by Moscow bureau; Editing by Mark Porter

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